Newbie needs a sense of direction - autoguiding??

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Veloce
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Newbie needs a sense of direction - autoguiding??

Post by Veloce » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:15 pm

Hi everybody. I'm new to the art of pointing a telescope by magic but have acquired a few bits of kit to start with. Perhaps if I ramble on a bit, I might give a few clues concerning what I need to do.
I acquired a Newtonian on a german mount, which I understand to be a CG5 or EQ5. This mount has been motorised on both axes using a Nexstar controller. It works OK as a GOTO system for visual use.
My intention is to control it from a Laptop rather than the little handset, and to autoguide it using a guidescope. Then, if it is steady enough, I can bother everybody with awkward questions about taking pictures . . . . .
However, two things are interfering with the masterplan. First, the only laptop I have is borrowed. I shall buy one in due course, but for now this is out. The borrowed one only runs Linux (debian)
Second, my mainframe (OK, Midi-tower) just went pop and is being replaced. If I have to spend money on Windows then I suppose I must, but astronomy will then be the only application on this platform. Everything else I do avoids Microsoft like the plague. Therefore, instead of the new machine being dual-boot Win and Linux, I would prefer to keep it all Linux, as long as I can do my stargazing on the Linux platform.
Back to my GOTO , the motors both plug into a control box which is clearly home-brewed, but which I assume contains the motor control hardware. I haven't dismantled it to see inside - yet. This box has a number of sockets: one each for RA, Dec, handset and one labelled Aux. RA is a round plug/socket with about 8 pins, of a type I am not familiar with. (With which I am not familiar, for the purists) whereas Dec, HS and Aux are all RJ12 sockets (at least, they are all the same and they are all RJ something). I decided that the most likely way forward (now tell me I'm wrong) was to get hold of a GPUSB, which I have done, and to plug it into the Aux socket (which I dare not) in the hope that it will work the required miracle.
I then downloaded and installed wxAstroCapture (Linux version ) on the little laptop, intending to use GPUSBcheck to see if it will work the motors. Then I realised that this software is for Windows only, as far as I can see.
So how can I check if wxAC will successfully drive this mount?
Anyone who has bothered to read this far now knows all I know and probably a lot more. I would appreciate any suggestions, especially if those using Linux can help me avoid an expensive purchase of Win7.

TIA

Richard

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Re: Newbie needs a sense of direction - autoguiding??

Post by dpanderson » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:38 pm

Given that it is a home-brewed control box, I don't have even a guess as to what the Aux port is for. You'll want to be very sure you know for sure that it is an autoguide port before plugging the GPUSB into it, or else there might be damage to either the control box, the GPUSB or both.

I've never done Linux myself, but I would think wxAC would do the job. I'd recommend contacting the developer's of the software to find out if you can use the software to send nudge commands to the mount to see if things are working.
Doug Anderson
Shoestring Astronomy
http://www.ShoestringAstronomy.com

Veloce
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:38 pm
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Re: Newbie needs a sense of direction - autoguiding??

Post by Veloce » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:29 pm

Thanks, I agree it would be sensible to contact the software developers. I'll do that.
BW

Richard

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